The mechanical and magnetic properties of a nitrided austenitic stainless steel are studied using a combinatorial approach. Plasma nitriding of a -oriented 316L single crystal is carried out using a loose shadow mask to produce an in-plane lateral gradient of nitrogen concentration that extends up to 100 μm. The local mechanical and magnetic properties across the gradually nitrided area are resolved by nanoindentation and the polar magneto-optic Kerr effect, respectively. The hardness, reduced Young's modulus and remanence qualitatively depict the nitrogen profile, suggesting that the nitrogen concentration is a central effect for these observed dependencies. Conversely, the coercivity exhibits a non-monotonic behaviour due to the interplay between magnetic anisotropy and the strength of the induced ferromagnetism. Fingerprints of the expected transition from a nitrogen supersaturated solid solution to a multiphase nature of expanded austenite are evidenced along the gradually nitrided area. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.